Aug 23, 2011

Sorrowseed - The Extinction Prophecies ...

I get a lot of CD's arriving at my doorstep and usually almost on a daily basis but I don't get too many at all as massive as this 2CD set from Massachusetts band Sorrowseed. To say this collection of songs is a gigantic piece of work would be a huge understatement. 2 discs and nearly 90 minutes worth of music spread out over 20 tracks all packaged in a glorious digipak with spectacular art and a lyric booklet. The amount of work that has gone into this makes most other releases look like a walk in the park. Packaging and presentation is all important but it still comes down to how good the music is, you can only stare at album art for so long. Thankfully the music here is well crafted, atmospheric lovecraftian melodic doom that reeks of mysticism. I have a few issues with the way this album was produced that I will go over later but considering this band is only a couple of years old, this release is an ambitious piece of work.

This 20-track album is a very depressive and atmospheric release that crosses over the goth/melodic/trad-doom genre with some blackish Cradle of Filth styled moments. The music presented here is apocalyptic, depressing for the most part and ethereal with the heavy use of keys and acoustic harmonies. The album is split into two parts, the first being 'Dread Sylvan Summonings' while the second disc goes by the title of 'Descent of the Scarab Prophet.' I don't think there is much of a concept here, both discs are interchangeable and the style doesn't vary that much between the two discs.

The band has multiple vocalists which keeps this album interesting and engaging from the vocal aspect. The vocals range from black-metal, Angela Gossow kind of growls and shrieks to the melodic and very beautiful. I am not going to go over every single song, there is too many but the 'Dread Sylvan Summonings' disc has a more relaxed, melodic vibe compared to disc two. The songs are captivating but not really catchy in any way so it is unlikely that any of these songs are going to get stuck in your head anytime soon. At times the songs remind me of Theater of Tragedy which is not really a band I admire but Sorrowseed do have better songs though. If there is a problem with disc one, it is a bit too much of the same. The disc has a sleepy, dream-like vibe which is great but over the course of 40 plus minutes, it is gets a bit tedious if you are not in the mood.

Disc two, 'Descent of the Scarab Prophet' is the strongest of the two CD's in my opinion and the most varied with a lot more death-metal styled elements. There is more emphasis on riffing which is of course what I like to hear and it has the two best tracks on the album in 'Circle of False Gods' and 'Astral Harvest' which oddly enough are the last 2 tracks on the album. I guess they saved the best for last, these tracks almost make it worth sitting through all of the album to hear. A couple of points worth mentioning is the fine musicianship and the great poetic lyrics that perfectly capture the dark imagery that the album art projects. But here comes the production flaws I mentioned earlier; the guitars sound held-back with nowhere near enough crunch and the overall sound is often buried in too-loud synths. They are so loud in some sections that it can be a bit irritating to the eardrums and it does disrupt the atmosphere on certain tracks. That problem is minor overall though and it hardly wrecks anything about this album. It is pretty rare when I am impressed by anything that is within the goth-doom genre of rock but Sorrowseed have indeed impressed me with 'The Extinction Prophecies.' Disc 2 overshadows disc 1 in terms of memorable passages of music in my mind which affects my rating for this album but the professionalism that is displayed on this album is incredible so this is still highly recommended listening..................8/10

Sorrowseed @ MySpace
Sorrowseed @ ReverbNation

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